iTunes Unable to Sync

By Chris Anzalone

Apple’s iTunes software allows you to transfer videos, music, podcasts and other compatible content to your iPod or iPhone through a process called “syncing.” When you connect your iPod to your computer using your USB iPod sync cable, iTunes will update your iPod hard drive so that it matches the content currently stored within your iTunes library, thus completing the syncing process. If iTunes refuses to sync, you can often solve the problem with some basic troubleshooting.

Things You'll Need

  • iPod/iPhone USB sync cable

Step 1

Update your iTunes and iPod software to the latest versions. Visit the iTunes download page (see Resources) to get the latest iTunes version and install it on your PC. Connect your iPod to your computer using your iTunes sync cable, select “iPod” from the left column of iTunes and click the “Check for Updates” button to update your iPod.

Step 2

Click the “iPod” or “iPhone” icon in the left column of iTunes and observe the checkbox that reads “Manually Manage Music and Videos.” If the box is checked, iTunes will not sync automatically. Click the box to uncheck it and restore your automatic sync.

Step 3

Restart your computer while your iPod remains connected to the USB port. If iTunes simply fails to recognize your iPod as a device, you can sometimes remedy the problem by rebooting, as this process forces your computer operating system to automatically search for available devices.

Step 4

Restart your iPod or iPhone. If iTunes is unable to sync, the problem may actually lie with the mobile device, and not with the iTunes software. To restart an iPhone or iPod Touch, press down the “Home” button beneath the screen and the “Sleep” button at the top of the device simultaneously until the Apple symbol appears. For click wheel iPods, hold “Menu” and “Select” until the Apple symbol appears.

Step 5

Disconnect your iPhone or iPod from your computer and re-insert it into a different USB port. Your iTunes software requires a powered USB connection to sync properly, and if one of your USB ports has a weak connection, your sync may fail. Make sure to connect to a USB port directly on your PC or laptop, and not to an external USB hub, as these contain less power.